Europe must resist the ‘blackmail’ of Belarusian migrants, Austria says

  • thousands of migrants stuck in limbo near the border
  • Lukashenko: Belarus not want escalation with Poland
  • Adds that ‘if we go too far, war is inevitable’
  • Poland, Lithuania: Belarus continues to transport migrants to the border
  • Germany again rejects Belarus call to take in migrants

BRUZGI, Belarus/WARSAW, Nov. 22 (Reuters) – Europe must not be blackmailed into accepting thousands of migrants stranded on his limit with Belarus, Austria said after Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko pressed the bloc to let them in after months of growing tension.

lukashenko, who denies European Union allegations that he fueled the crisis, said he didn’t want a cross-border collision as it could be lead to go to war, while reiterating that the EU should some accept migrants, while Belarus repatriates others.

Polish border guard said Belarusian troops are still carrying migrants in from the Middle East to the EU border, despite the clearing of camps near the border last week and moving a lot of of the migrants to a warehouse.

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Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, whose country, like other EU neighbors of Belarus has sent armed reinforcements to the border on Sunday that the crisis may be a prelude to “something much worse”. On Monday, Lukashenko said an escalation could be catastrophic.

“We do not want confrontation. we do not need the. Because we understand that if we go too far, war is inevitable,” Lukashenko told the state-owned company Belta. news bureau. “And that will be a disaster. We understand this very well. We do not want any kind of glow-up.”

Exiled Belarusian opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya urged the bloc to tougher on Minsk, that the EU says to fly people in and pushes them over to sting via Poland, Lithuania and Latvia in response to sanctions over Lukashenko crushes of protests against his disputed reelection last year. read more

“NO BLACK MAIL”

The plan proposed by Belarus last week would mean EU countries to take in migrants, while Minsk will pay another 5,000 back home, and Lukashenko said Belarus was preparing second migrant repatriation flight at the end of this month.

faced met with an initial rejection of the bloc, Lukashenko said: on Monday he must insist on Germany – the preferred destination of many migrants – take in a number of them.

Germany, and others, quickly rejected his newfound call.

“The idea of have a humanitarian corridor to Germany for 2,000 migrants is not a solution die is acceptable for Germany of the EU’, it sounds government spokesperson said: on Monday, when Austrian Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg reiterated in a joint news conference with Tikhanuskaya.

“The EU should not give in to blackmail Lukashenko. We must respond unitedly and very clearly to this state-sponsored hybrid attack on the European Union,” Schallenberg said.

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko attends a meeting with his assistant and inspector for the Grodno region Yuri Karayev and governor of the Grodno region Vladimir Karanik in Minsk, Belarus November 22, 2021. Nikolai Petrov/BelTA/Hand-out via REUTERS

LANGUAGE IN POWER

Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda, in conversation met reporters after meeting with Lithuanian troops deployed on the border with Belarus, said he was reassured that Germany was not trying to make separate deals with Minsk.

“I think the time has come for bilateral contacts are terminated in favor of multipole contact, om avoid any suspicion that something is happening behind from someone back,” he said.

Belarusian opposition leader Tsikhanouskaya said she could understand German Chancellor Angela Merkel trying to… help the migrants when she spoke with Lukashenko – who long shunned by EU leaders – on the telephone last week. But she said it still looked “very strange” breaking his isolation.

“The Lukashenko regime only understands the” language of power, they do not understand diplomatically language’ said Tsikhanouskaya, telling the EU over the sanctions die it had imposed on Minsk was ineffective because there were too many loopholes in be the law.

THREAT TO REDUCING THE TRAIN CONNECTION

Poland has threatened to cut a train connection with Belarus if the situation does not improve, and Lukashenko said the threat could backfire, with train traffic diverted to run through a conflict zone in Eastern Ukraine instead.

Poland’s government spokesperson said no decision has been taken on the closure, although that option used to be on the table.

The Polish Deputyminister of Foreign Affairs Marcin Przydacz said what happened next used to be up to Lukashenko. “The EU . can be a . way until trade with Eastern European and Asian partners without Belarus,” he told Reuters.

The Polish Economic Institute (PIE) said every shutdown of the limit to train cargo would be: more costly for Belarus as an export account for up up to 70% of its gross domestic product.

Humanitarian organizations say as many as 13 migrants have died at the border, where many have suffered in a cold, damp forest with little food of water as a cold winter set in.

AN group of about 150 migrants tried to break through the border fence at the Polish village of Dubicze Cerkiewne on That said the Polish border guard on Sunday.

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Reporting by Maria Kiselyova, Matthias Williams, Alan Charlish, Pawel Florkiewicz, Andrius Sytas, Francois Murphy; writing by Ingrid Melander; adaptation by Mark Heinrich and Philippa Fletcher

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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